Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I knew it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New post

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Only Friend...

So, this may be it for the blog, as I've signed on to to be the resident crank and insane raver over there about sports. While I may dable my way back over here when the need to deconstruct some non-sports topic arises, you can find me at the link to the right about once a week for the maniacle ravings you have come to know and love under my current pseudonym. Also, feel free to use my link as much as you like (hint, hint) and the links on the side. Well, until next time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The curse of the mean is its variance...

That's right, I'm going there. I'm busting out a piece of econometric wisdom to title a super bowl obit. At least, I think it is econometric wisdom. Quite frankly, if it isn't, it should be, because it just has such a nice ring to it. Granted, I've never heard anyone else use the expression except me, and it is clever enough that I might actually have thought of it on my own. You know what? Screw it:

"The curse of the mean is its variance" -Fletcher Austin McGuffin

So, what the hell does this mean? Well, as anybody that had a bunch of NASDAQ stocks at the turn of millenium will tell you, just because the stock market averages a cool 10.8% return per year doesn't mean you'll get that average year in and year out. We live in a world of density forecasts, not of point forecasts. The world exists around the mathematical ideal that all things are possible, if just not probable.

For example, I can tell you that you are an idiot for playing the lottery with its astronomical odds against. Yet, if you do somehow win, does that suddenly make me the idiot? Well, honestly, I'd still say "no". Just because somebody I know wins the lottery doesn't mean I'm going to start, because in many ways it is still a losing proposing for me.

Which is not to say that the results of the super bowl were as random as the Giants winning the lottery. Far from it, in fact. But I still stand by my assertion that there was about a 1/3rd chance of a Pats blowout, a 1/3rd chance of Pats close win, and a 1/3rd chance of a Giants close win. Just because the Giants won, does that suddenly mean that I'm an idiot for saying that beforehand? Well, that's debatable, but I'd like to think that there are plenty of other reasons for suggesting I'm an idiot and a defensible prediction about the Super Bowl is not the last shred of evidence needed to be the last push to confirm my idiocy.

Look, I'm not trying to say the Pats were the better team, or that the Giants got lucky, or that the Super Bowl is invalid (which I've actually heard a few people say to varying degrees). The Giants won, the Pats lost, and now everyone and their sister is scrambling to discount the Pats first 18 games and figure out how a 10-6 team felled a team that was poised to be in the argument for the greatest ever. What I'm saying is that this is not necessary. The beauty of the game of football is the "any given Sunday", "decide it on the field", "winner take all" drama/cliche ordeal. In baseball, hockey, and that sport with the hoop, they play 5 or 7 games to determine the best team because the margins of talent are so thin. In football, especially when dealing with a perfect record, all it takes is one bad day, one dropped interception being caught, one helmet catch bouncing on the turf or one great escape turning into a sack, one man-on-man pass defended on a big blitz, and suddenly the Pats are still in the discussion of the best team ever. One 4-13 completion or better yet a 50-yard FG that puts the game into overtime instead of a loss. Would we really have such different views of both of these teams if one of Brady's last-second bombs were completed and the Pats kicked the tying FG and ended up winning?

Probably. But should we? Probably not. My whole point is not that one team is better than the other. Because "better" implies some sort of ordinal ranking that is definitive. More so than any other sport. The Giants are the champs, and that is really the assertion that matters. At this point, discussions of quality really are attempts to forecast something that has already happened, and that is the nature of the game. Sure, in baseball you have hitters who are better with fastball than breaking pitches, or lefty-righty matchups, etc. But, really, there is not a whole lot of strategy. There aren't many areas where scheme comes into play. Not so in football. It isn't so easy to say, "well, A beat B, and B beat C, so A should beat C." Maybe C's scheme is going to give A fits. And that is where the fun of the sports comes in, even when you are on the wrong end of it. Looking over the league, who would have thought that the three most challenging games the Pats had all year would come from the Ravens and the Giants (twice)? That is just the way it goes.

Now I know this is all very Zen, I'm sure, but it doesn't stop a bunch of my bratty 516s from showing up to my classes wearing 18-1 shirts. And, ultimately, what is my point? I've meandered aimlessly from half-justification to half-justification, with no clear direction or central point to the argument. Well, unfortunately, that is my point. This is my path of correcting the cognitive dissonance of the exhausting and ultimately unsatisfying journey to Super Bowl loser. This is the way I've come to grips with a quizzical gameplan, a flat and almost disinterested team that forgot to use its greatest strength from the year until the final TD drive: its usual adaptibility and its penchant for the big play on defense. There are so many angles, so many storylines attempting to reconcile the internal validity of the game wih external validity of the teams. But, really, there isn't any, and it is crushing in so many ways that only sports can be, with the combination of desire hinging on, and complete impotence over, the result rather than the journey.

The question becomes: where do I go from here? And I do mean "I", because there isn't much I can do about my team. In some way, I'll try and remember that my self-indulgent voyuerism of sports came from somewhere. And that somewhere began with Raymond Barry, Rod Rust, and Dick Macpherson. It began with Steve Grogan and Doug Flutie, Marion Butts and Tony Collins. And I've been here before, left with a winter stinging from a Super Bowl loss, wondering how my beloved coach could betray such a big game (though a poor gameplan is easier to cope with than Parcell fleeing to the Jets), that our star quarterback could perform so poorly on such a big stage (though one fumble hardly equals 4 Bledsoe interceptions). It has been a strange road to this point.

And I have to be pleased. Sure, there is always that "what could have been" voice in the back of my head. But after suffering through Pete Carrol's reign of terror, Billichek's 5-11 debut, and the aging roster brimming with mediocrity pushing hard against the salary cap, if you told me the next 7 seasons would see 7 winning records, 6 playoff berths, 5 years in the AFC Championship, 4 superbowl appearances, 3 wins, 2 years as reigning champs, 1 perfect regular season (not to mention 21 consecutive wins), and a partridge in a pear tree, I'd have taken it in a heartbeat. Especially since, despite the need for a revamped linebacker corp and secondary, the team still looks tough moving forward and has a top 10 draft pick. Things are not all bad, even if perspective comes at the expense of the betrayed expectations of 8 days ago.

So, now, with the end of the season of the greatest Patriots team I've ever seen with my own eyes, all that remains it to is to quote the greatest pitcher I've ever seen with my own eyes: "I tip my cap and call the Giants my daddy." C'est la sports.


As a side note, congrats to frequent reader and one-time roommate Steady B. In the space of a week, he saw his beloved baseball team pick up the best pitcher on the planet for a few pieces of roster detritus and his beloved football team pull of one of the greatest football upsets in history. The bastard.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Anybody else see this?

Did anybody else notice Jerry Jones on the sideline at the end of the Giants game? In case you didn't, I took a few screen shots.

After being down by 7, here he was as his team looked poised to go into halftime up 14-7:

Just after the Giants tied it with a few seconds left:

When the Cowboys retook the lead in the 3rd:

In disbelief after the Giants took the lead again:

In rapt attention as Romo's final pass was in the air, optimistic that the shot in the end zone would win them the game:

When he realized that the pass was intercepted and the Giants had won:

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Okay, well, I take it back. Trade for Santana. According to this story, apparently it might happen for Coco, Lester, Lowrie, and a 4th player who may or may not be Bowden. Holy hell, get that done! I mean, essentially the Sox would be exchanging a cheap young lefty (who in all likelihood has some growing pains left before he is reliable) for the best Lefty on the planet, albeit compensated appropriately. To do this, they would give up a center-fielder who we probably were going to move anyway, a stud-prospect who is probably not defensively good enough to be a SS and is blocked for at least a few years by Lugo/Pedroia/Lowell, and then a good AA prospect whose projected ceiling is probably a 2rd starter.

So, again, on paper, we are turning a young lefty into the best lefty on the planet for:
Our backup CF
A prospect with no place on the big club
A pitching prospect (always dicey) who might be a solid starter (or somebody else)

Wow. If the Sox can get this deal, without giving up Buccholz or Ellsbury (or Masterson), do it. Then, give Santana 6 years at $140. Not quite the level he was hoping for dollars-wise, but I'll bet you he would take it (or at least be hard-pressed not to).

Okay, now with all that said, there has got to be no way this report is accurate (or will get it done). Particulary since Delmon Young is probably their new CF, I'm not sure why Coco would have extra value for them (and that deal included a SS, too; though again, Lowrie is probably 2B or 3B). That this deal makes so much sense to the Red Sox means that the Twins probably know that and that they will have to ask for more. I think this is a Sox leaked story to drive up the price on the Yanks. This deal, albeit still costly, makes too much sense for the Sox. If there is any traction to this, do it. But color me skeptical (yet still ridiculously excited!).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Catching up

The Pats are incredible, and that game against the Eagles didn't worry me as much as I think it did some people. While I was pretty nervous during the whole ordeal, I take hope from the following:

On offense, the Pats actually did really well. Take away a questionable-at-best offensive pass intereference or the missed/not-missed field goal (the replay showed it seems to have been good), and the Pats punted twice. Their possessions were TD, TD, FG, TD, Punt, TD/FG/Missed FG debacle, 10 play drive that ended on downs at the 30, TD, Clock-kill for a punt. So, on 8 "non-clock kill" drives, they were a bad call away from 5 TDs and a FG. I'll take it. It seemed like less of a success for the offense because the Pats lost two possessions (Samuels TD-return and the onside kick Philly recovered).

On defense, they accomplished the game plan they wrote up. I was going crazy with all those in-cut passes getting completed, and I couldn't figure out why either a linebacker or Rodney Harrison wasn't dropping into coverage to at least clog up some of those passing lanes that were ridiculously open for most of the game. Watching a few replays, I started to realize that Harrison/Thomas/Colvin were staying about 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage on a lot of pass plays instead of dropping into that zone area that was open: they were spying Westbrook. I'm pretty sure the gameplan was: take away Westbrook and see if injured McNabb/AJ "backup" Feeley/Rookie could beat them. To AJ's credit, he almost did by exploiting the void in the defense that the extra defender applied to Westbrook created. This was a flaw in the game plan, not necessarily of the defense, and hopefully one that doesn't need to be repeated.

Special teams, eh, wished they'd been ready for the onside, but at the same time I would be thrilled if all our opponents always try to onside regularly: we'll recover a lot of them with better field position than on regular kickoffs.

Shifting gears:

Red Sox & baseball: The team is pretty much complete, at this point. Trade Coco (or maybe Ellsbury, whose value is probably a hell of a lot higher than the player he is destined to become for us) for some future prospect or a good reliever, resign Kielty, maybe see if you can get something valuable for Tavarez. Otherwise, you know what you have to go to war with, you have some good prospect in the rear to step up or be traded for replacements midseason, and kick some ass once the calendar turns April.

Also, avoid Santana, because you need to sign him to a free agent contract while giving up blockbuster prospect. Honestly, I'd roll the dice that he doesn't get moved and take a chance on signing him next year rather than lose 3 quality prospect (or, in all likelihood, 1 realized quality major leaguer) to pay him $20mm per. If the Yanks do trade for him, you just need to say, "oh well" and take solace in the fact that they are in weaker position to make deals or have cheap talent elsewhere and hope that Santana's spike in HRs is a trend and not a 1-year fluke. Great pitcher, but the cost to the franchise to get him may be slightly greater.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Wow. 2nd of my lifetime. Wow.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dancing between raindrops

Live in the moment

Alright, it is time to hit this kid. Schill gives up a gift run in 1st, and Ortiz and Lugo just barely missed tacking on 2 runs. We need to rip this sucker open in the 5th. Schill needs to stop them here, then we come back out and destroy this kid. He's seen that he can't throw strikes and he knows he is inches away from being lit up. Do your part Schill, and we're good.

Of course, while typing that, Schilling gives up a walk that gets sacrificed to 2nd. Hold the line!

Got him!

Lugo scared me there for about half a second. But Schilling comes through. Bottom of the 5th. Time to knock this rookie out of the game.

After 7 huge honking fucking outs by Oki in the 8th:

This is what our other Japanese import just proved:

(No wonder his head gets pulled down during his throwing motion)

And this is his reward:

And of course Paps picks off Holliday! Tack some runs on in the 8th and have Paps shut them down in the ninth. Do it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series

Go Sox!

And, since this weekend also brings the hated Steelers-Bengals game to the McGuffin household, I thought I would try to pep up the Resident Female Version 2.Wife:

You always complain about the characteristics of the Steelers players. Well, baby, it aint just the players:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Day that could buy a week, maybe even a trophy

Schilling and Drew (Drew! Drew!!!) bought us one more day of baseball. Tonight, Matsuzaka can buy as a week and a shot at the trophy. Make it happen, make it be beautiful, and make it a win.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Make it 2 for 2 more...

Well, it may not have gone perfectly in the series to this point, but at least the Sox have added 2 more days to their season tonight. Which means we're allowed to think about baseball for 2 more days. 29 other teams and their fans can't say they get to do that. To me, that is beautiful, because it is what baseball is all about: just getting to think about your team on a daily basis. Baseball is about being able to wrap yourself up in the moment, wrap your head up in the game, and escape your day as necessary. Just being able to say you have a game to watch, a pitching matchup to breakdown, a story to be written, and finally a box score to pour over the next morning is good enough for me. Win the world series or be eliminated in game 6, my boys have bought me another 2 days to think about them, to obsess over them, to root for them, and to scream about them. They've given my season another chance, and they've prolonged the memories of the Mother's Day comeback, the September 1 no-hitter, the emergence of an ace, and the conquest of a division, if only for 2 more days. And they've done it because they won tonight.

Down 3-2, headed to Fenway, another game on tap, and hopefully another 5-8 more after Saturday. But you know what? For now, I'll settle for just one more more. Let's make there be a game on Sunday, too. Go Sox.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

9 Innings? 9 Random Points

1. Well, after 7 full days as a married man, I've got to say I don't notice much difference. Granted, the bling can be a bit painful while working out and a bit distracting otherwise, but not much has changed. Granted, the wedding was as expensive as hell, so I'm very broke at the moment, but that is about it. We already were living together, the Resident Female is still a demon in the sack, and we still barely survived a Pats/Bengals MNF game without me being stabbed. It's good to be married.

2. Dane Cook. It's time to talk about Dane Cook. I don't know if anybody has noticed, but that guy is just not funny. Really, he strikes me as a poor man's Ryan Renolds who forgot to take his bipolar meds. I realize that he is considered to be the pre-eminant stand-up comedy of this generation, but that makes me more sad than anything else. He isn't funny, he is just mildly goofy and has an eye for self-promotion.

3. ALCS. Beckett was superb. Daisuke was underwhelming, but that is what Playoff Tito and our bullpen are for. Schilling looked like Burkett, but guiled his way through the Angels like the intelligent professor he is. The bullpen? Goodnight. Seriously, I don't care what team you are facing, a 1.33 ERA is pretty damn impressive. 4 runs in 27 innings is good enough proof to suggest the Sox can push into the series, before we talk about Papi, Manny et al getting into their grooves. Fabulous.

4. I was strangely disappointed and self-doubting about the Pats only winning against the Browns by a margin of 17, and letting them get back within 10 twice. I have my theories, including BB letting up a bit in the 2nd half to help his boy Romeo out, but I'm to the point of being spoiled that the Pats are just poetry in motion. We'll see how good these guys truly are at Dallas, at Indy, at Baltimore, and hosting the Steelers & Eagles; but for now, you know it is a priveledge to feel disappointed with a 17-point win.

5. Ronan Tynan is a douche. Ice the reliever all you want, but you are still a baldy-headed fuck with Kyle Farnsworth-esque ears. Seriously, that guy annoys the living crap out of me.

6. Honestly, if I actually cared about the Celtics, I would have to say this is an unbelievable time to be a Boston fan. We are coming off just a phenomenal couple of years where the Sox have been contending for a while, look to be doing so moving forward, and mid-run on a very promising potential for another WS win. The Pats have managed to win 3 superbowls, retool, accumulate a few choice draft picks (despite a lost 1st rounder), and have one of the most beautiful offenses this league has ever seen. If Jeremy Jacobs weren't a complete tool (and Alex Ovechkin weren't so tempting a player to root for in DC, forcing me to be moderately NHL-conflicted), I'd be completely satisfied with my sports life. Best time to be a Boston fan. I hope it doesn't end anytime soon.

7. TBS is killing me. Honestly, there is a large part of me that is actually looking forward to the dulcet tones of Joe Buck and the inchorent melody of Tim McShithead butchering players' names and passing superior and irrelevant moral dictums for little apparent cause. By the way, has anyone on that station yet announced that Manny Ramirez tied the post-season homerun record in the last game? No? And what about Julio Lugo "Got him. Uh, under the tag, he's in" not-caught-stealing call? Goodbye TBS, hello shitty network!

8. My prediction of "3rd inning injury" was correct, but the "down 0-6" was wrong. Regardless, it is nice to see Fat Billy Roger Clemens tank another post-season performance and blame it on a phantom injury. The only way I would have been happier with that performance was if his elbow exploded in a bloody mess while his fat forearm went pinwheeling off into the New York night like a Skihl saw. I hate that fat fuck.

9. Joba is also fat, and it was very satisfying to see him attacked by a bunch of trash-loving gnats. Boy must smell like trash, because nobody else seemed nearlty as bothered by the bugs. Though I do hope the Yanks make the series go 5 before losing spectacularly to Sabathia and the indians in 25 innings, burning out all the arms in both bullpens, making the Sox face a worn and battered opponent.